This post is contributed by Jennie Malouf Gilchrist, fellow Dallasite and owner of The Write Choice, a shop WHERE THE GENERATIONS MEET™. Since 1986, Jennie has been helping her community celebrate life’s moments, big and small, through timeless invitations, stationery and gifts. Over the years, Jennie has been a go-to source for birthday invitations, stationery and other paper goods for both Lolli and me. Today, we’ve asked her to explain how to make the “write” choices when it comes to creating a family stationery suite:
Training a young heart towards gratitude starts with the simple spoken words “please” and “thank you.” Parents express these gracious words to their children and, in turn, teach their children to express the same to parents and others.
Learning to handwrite a thank you note comes next in training a child in the lifelong habit of appreciating others’ kindnesses and generosity.
Stationery is a vehicle of communication within and beyond your family, and hand-written notes create community. With endless paper and design options, where should you start in building your family’s stationery suite?
For Young Children
The parent will write on their behalf, however make the child aware of the reason for writing and to whom the note is sent. When they are able, let them sign their name or draw a picture. Add the child’s name or monogram to decorative or motif stationery as they learn to write their own notes. Just a couple of sentences will do.
High schoolers writing thank you notes after college interviews and college students entering the business world need a set of simple, sophisticated stationery. A classic white or ivory card with navy, black, or slate ink projects appropriate professionalism.
In most cases, use the full name:
John Malouf Gilchrist
Mary Eleanor Gilchrist
Gentlemen tend to prefer flat cards, and for women, both flat and folded notes are popular. One may write on the inside bottom and back panel of a folded note, but only on the front of a correspondence card. Some men prefer a letter sheet to compose on the computer, print out, then sign by hand.
For Mother and Father
At one time, the essential couples’ stationery started with a folded note, engraved with the couple’s full formal married name (middle name unabbreviated).
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gibb Gilchrist
More modern and casual options include first names at the top of a correspondence card (woman’s name first), or the “married monogram” (woman’s initial first).
Jennie and Tom Gilchrist
According to modern etiquette, the woman or man may write on behalf of the couple or family, using his or her name or monogram.
For example, with the woman’s monogram or name she writes:
“Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed the wedding celebration of …”
or on the man’s stationery, he might write:
“Jennie and I delighted in catching up with you two over your sumptuous home cooked dinner.”
For a note on behalf of the whole family, there are also some more casual options like this one, which includes everyone’s first names:
Notes to congratulate, express condolences, thank, or encourage weave lives together through your shared history.
Beyond basic stationery styles, there are engraved, letterpress, thermography, digital or hand calligraphy (for a note that will be particularly cherished) options. Your budget and aesthetic influences your family’s stationery wardrobe, which may also include:
Hanging gift tags are a fun option for gifting. You can tie them on with raffia or a ribbon to complete your presentation with style and personality.
It’s also quick and easy to add a gift sticker to whatever you’re wrapping. Gift stickers make personalizing presents for various occasions simple! With a simple solid tote gift bag and colored tissue, your sticker design can provide the “decoration.”
Formal engraved “Mr. and Mrs.” cards traditionally accompany a wedding gift but are useful to include with other types of presents as well.
These are examples hanging gift tags for Christmas gifts, but The Write Choice can customize similar ones (and other types mentioned!) according to any occasion:
Your family’s stationery wardrobe will change through the years, reflecting ages and stages (i.e. summer camp notes, bridal stationery, etc.). A Family Planner notepad is a great tool for balancing multiple schedules as the family grows:
Notepads for each child and parent are handy for communicating with each other, and personalized sticky notes are often useful too!
Personalized embossers, return address stamps and stickers, greeting cards, calling and business cards, holiday cards, notebooks for purses or backpacks, journals, bag tags, playing cards, laminated placemats, camp notes, customized shipping labels…all are practical items The Write Choice offers according to your lifestyle needs!
Tactile vs. Texting
A note about texting – I have a large box of letters from my siblings and parents, as well as my letters to my parents. Even the casual notes we left on the counter for each other now provide a window into everyday life and bits of family history that I simply would not have if we had the default of today’s technology. What may seem like a trite detail can bring back a warm memory or a chuckle many years later.
Even though we have the luxury of texting and emailing, try “writing it down” every once in a while, for history’s sake. When I read my grandmother’s letters, I hear her accent. Even recognizing her handwriting warms my heart. I touch the paper she touched!
Enjoy communicating within and beyond your family, extending your family’s love, care, and gratitude to others, thus creating a cherished community for years to come. That’s the power of making “The Write Choice!”